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New Dog and Cat Laws from 1 July 2018


cat getting microchipped at the vet

If you’re among one of the many South Australians who owns or breeds furry, four-legged friends, then the new dog and cat management laws set to hit South Australia mid 2018 might affect you.

The Dog and Cat Management (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2015 (SA) was introduced into Parliament by the Hon. Ian Hunter, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, to improve the management and welfare of dogs and cats, while refining the consistency of legislation across a number of local Government Acts.

Following extensive public consultation and a Citizens’ Jury in 2015, the Bill was passed by Parliament on 6 July 2016. The amended laws, which are considered the most significant changes to dog and cat management laws in more than 20 years, have been phased in from 1 July 2017.

The latest laws, set to come into effect on 1 July 2018 include:

For Owners

  • All dogs and cats must now be microchipped before they are sold or in any event by three months of age;
  • All dogs and cats born after 1 July 2018 must be desexed before 6 months of age (exemptions apply); and
  • A new website, Dogs and Cats Online (DACO), will be implemented in South Australia to manage dog, cat and breeder registration.  

The desexing regulations do not apply in relation to an animal welfare organisation, a dog or cat that belongs to a person registered as a breeder, or a dog or cat that is not usually kept within the State.

For Breeders and Sellers

  • Any party who breeds dogs and/or cats for sale must now be registered with the Dog and Cat Management Board (DCMB) as a breeder; and
  • The laws and regulations now stipulate that breeder, microchipping, desexing and vaccination information must be included in all advertisements for the sale of a dog or cat.    

From 1 July, failing to desex and microchip dogs and cats in accordance with the laws and regulations will be considered an offence, with fines ranging from $2500 to $5000.

The changes have been implemented to increase the likelihood of lost or impounded dogs and cats being reunited with their owners, and reduce the number of unwanted and abandoned animals being euthanised in pounds and shelters.

As lovers of our furry friends, we sincerely hope the new laws have the desired effect.

Today’s blog has been written by Law Clerk, Julia Arena and settled by Special Counsel and dedicated dog advocate, Margaret Kaukas.  

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Please note, this Blog is posted in Adelaide, South Australia by Andersons Solicitors. It relates to South Australian legislation. Andersons Solicitors is a medium sized law firm servicing metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia across all areas of law for individuals and businesses.